2018-19 Annual Report Summary
D&A Report Shows Alcohol Once Again Tops List of Substance Abuse
HONESDALE (Jan. 29, 2020) – For the first time in 5 years, more individuals requested help for alcohol use disorder than opioid use disorder. While overdose numbers seemed to increase slightly from calendar year 2017 to 2018, year to date 2019 data shows promise for a substantial decrease.
In fact, D&A Commission Director Jeff Zerechak said, requests for heroin and opioid addiction services fell by seven percent in the last fiscal year, while requests for alcohol addiction treatment rose by 10 percent. However while inpatient placements decreased from fiscal year 17/18, heroin and opiate use continues to account for the largest percentage of all inpatient admissions at 52% in 18/19, but was down slightly from 61% in 17/18.
The Wayne County Drug and Alcohol Commission’s approach to people with substance use disorders has its roots in the disease concept. Substance use disorders are primary, progressive, chronic, but most importantly treatable. The disorder is characterized by compulsive use of mind-altering chemicals despite negative consequences. Emphasis is placed on treatment, recovery, and restoration to a healthy, productive life. It is the belief of the Commission that recovery is possible for anyone who is willing to work at it.
To deal with the overdose situation, Wayne County Drug and Alcohol Commission continued its community/education and awareness efforts, restructured its Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) program to maximize client capacity, added Sublocade to its MAT protocol, and continued its involvement in a joint initiative with the Wayne County Heroin Prevention Task Force to disseminate Narcan kits to concerned community members.
The Commission has partnered with Little Creek Out Patient services to increase outpatient treatment capacity and add D&A partial hospitalization in County; partnered with Shane’s House to begin offering recovery housing services; continued to support and promote recovery coaching for clients through the Certified Recovery Specialist; partnered with The Wright Center on a federal Health Resources & Services Administration grant to further expand MAT; and partnered with Wayne Memorial Hospital on a warm hand-off initiative for overdose survivors.
The awarding of a Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs Funding Initiative Announcement supports the addition of another full-time case manager, which will decrease waiting time for D&A assessments and increase the ability to provide on-going case management services to Wayne County residents.
MEDICATION ASSISTED TREATMENT
Wayne County Drug and Alcohol Commission offers Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) to its clients with opioid use disorders and alcohol use disorders. MAT is the use of FDA approved and proven medications in combination with cognitive- behavioral therapies and recovery supports. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) this treatment approach has shown a host of favorable outcomes to include: improved survival rates for persons with SUD, increased retention in treatment, decreased illicit opioid use and other criminal activity, increased employment rates and job retention, and improved birth outcomes for pregnant women.
The SCA Medication Assisted Treatment program utilizes the medications Suboxone, and Sublocade which are partial opioid agonists, or Vivitrol, which is an opioid antagonist. These medications help to stabilize the brain’s chemistry and reduce intense cravings which may otherwise interfere with successful engagement in treatment and other community recovery supports. The Wayne County Drug and Alcohol Commission’s philosophy on MAT is that the medication does not cure the disorder, but is a recovery tool and is never considered a stand-alone treatment.
The Wayne County Drug and Alcohol Commission contracts with The Wright Center to oversee all medical aspects of the program, and all program participants meet with a MAT Physician a minimum of two times per month.
The SCA’s MAT Program had 66 referrals and 31 new admissions in 18/19. The program is long-term and highly individualized, therefore most people are involved in it one year or more.
The Wayne County Drug and Alcohol Commission Prevention Program provides D&A educational strategies, evidenced based prevention programming, student support groups, professional technical assistance/training, and participates on student assistance program teams as the D&A liaison in the Wayne Highlands, Western Wayne, and Wallenpaupack School Districts.
Our certified Prevention Specialists deliver research-based substance abuse programs, which teaches, amongst other things, drug and other risk-taking resistance skills, personal self-management skills and coping skills. These programs are delivered over in multiple sessions over multiple grade levels. Zerechak said the "scare tactics" and one- time events used in the past have been shown to have only limited effectiveness, while things like coping skills provide students with the long-term tools they need to stay off drugs and alcohol.
The Prevention Specialists also have a menu of items they can present information about, including programs on Addiction & the Adolescent Brain, Effects of Chemical Dependency on the Family, as well as a variety of education-based support groups designed to help students learn new skills, develop self- confidence and provide a safe atmosphere to learn, share feelings and interact with peers and adults.
The in-school program served nearly 2,000 students in the Wallenpaupack, Wayne Highlands and Western Wayne School Districts in 2018-19.
RECOVERY SUPPORT SERVICES
Recovering from addiction takes a lot of work and effort, as well as a great deal of support, which starts with treatment. After that, it’s about lifestyle and life changes that support recovery.
Persons in early recovery often need someone with lived recovery experience to help them navigate life’s problems and access community-based recovery supports. The type of support provided by a Certified Recovery Specialist differs from that of a D&A Counselor or sponsor, and significantly contributes to long-term success in recovery.
A full-time Certified Recovery Specialist (CRS) works with the client to develop an individualized recovery plan, which focuses on barriers to a healthy and productive recovery. The Certified Recovery Specialist meets with clients/consumers both in the office and in the community to introduce them to programs, connect them to services and assist with employment services, among other things.
The Certified Recovery Specialist, who received 89 referrals and 35 admissions, also provides community outreach in order to reduce the stigma associated with addiction and increase public awareness of recovery issues and the services that are available to support recovery.
Often time’s individuals in early recovery also need a safe place to reside so that they can work on their recovery and rebuild their lives. For some, the environment where they resided in active addiction is not a safe place to work on these important life changes and for others their families cannot take them back.
In recognition of this Wayne County Drug and Alcohol Commission began contracting with Shane’s House, which is a male recovery house owned by Little Creek Lodge. At Shane’s House, Wayne County residents are provided a safe, structured living environment that is staffed 24/7, so they can work on their recovery and will experience more positive recovery outcomes.
In fiscal year 2018-2019, Wayne County Drug and Alcohol Commission placed three individuals in this service for a total of 270 days.
CASE MANAGEMENT SERVICES
For many Wayne County residents suffering from substance use disorders, the Wayne County Drug and Alcohol Commission’s Case Management Unit is the first step to getting well. Five full-time Case Managers serve as the point of entry into treatment services by providing drug and alcohol intake, assessment, placement, care management/case coordination, DUI coordination, and specialized case coordination services for persons in our Medication Assisted Treatment Program.
Each assessment consists of approximately a 2 hour face-to-face interview and after determining the diagnosis, most appropriate level of care, and the type of program that will best meet the individual’s needs, individuals are placed in a licensed treatment facility. A funding determination is also made at this time, and every Wayne County resident receives the help they need regardless of their ability to pay.
The Case Management Unit completed a total of 576 screenings/intakes and 486 assessments in F/Y 18-19. Of those, 63 were completed in the Wayne County Correctional Facility, and 9 in the school districts. They also received 32 calls through the warm hand-off initiative and the general on-call structure.